speckled pea gravel patio
Photo: Coral Von Zumwalt
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Speckled Pea Gravel

Loose gravel in shades of gray, white, and tan gives this raised patio a beachy feel to complement the relaxed look of the low-slung wood-sided cottage it sits behind. An advantage of gravel is that rainwater easily filters through and into the ground below, so there's never any puddling. You also don't have to worry as much about grading your site. Patios with less-permeable surfaces must be sloped at least inch per foot to drain properly. Note that most gravel patios require edging to keep pebbles in place, whether it's steel sunk in the soil or pressure-treated timbers like these that sit right on the ground.

Shown: Del Rio washed pea gravel, $1 per square foot from 60-pound bags, 60 cents per square foot in bulk; bourgetbros.com
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